Last Updated on January 8, 2024 by Matt Musico
There are a few pieces of equipment that qualify as a baseball player’s pride and joy. Their fielding glove is definitely one of them. It’s easy to get attached to your glove, so in order to extend its life as long as possible, you need to take good care of it. Part of that involves knowing how to oil a baseball glove.
This is an important practice because it helps the leather of your glove maintain its flexibility and also prevents it from cracking. In the below article, we’ll go over a few different aspects of oiling your baseball glove. We’ll talk about why this should be part of your routine, how to choose the right oil, and the process of actually getting this done.
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Why You Should Oil a Baseball Glove
Here are four reasons why oiling your baseball glove should be part of your routine when it comes to maintaining equipment.
- Softens the leather: Oiling a new glove helps soften the leather. This makes it easier to catch and grip the ball.
- Prevents cracking: Leather can dry out and crack over time, especially if exposed to heat and humidity. Oiling lubricates the glove and prevents that from happening.
- Extends the life of your beloved glove: Regular oiling can extend the life of the glove by keeping the leather in good condition. And we all know how attached we get to our gloves.
- Improves performance: A well-oiled glove can improve your performance by providing a better grip and feel of the ball. The difference between a broken-in glove and one that’s not is pretty evident.
Choosing the Right Oil
Choosing the right oil to use on your glove is just as important as the act of oiling your baseball glove. Look for oils and products specifically made for leather gloves. The glove manufacturer will likely offer recommendations for oils and conditioners that work well with their product. These can be purchased at a sporting goods store, or right from Amazon.
Avoid using things like vegetable oil or motor oil. They can damage the leather and make the glove unusable. Instead, opt for products like mink oil, rhino wax, or glove oil. These penetrate the leather and help soften it.
Mink oil is a popular choice for conditioning and preserving leather. It’s known for being waterproof and protecting leather. Rhino wax is another common option to reduce glove break-in time and protect your prized possession from wear and tear. Glove oil is specifically designed for baseball gloves and helps break in the leather.
When choosing an oil, keep the type of leather your glove is made from in mind. Some oils may work better with certain types of leather than others. A good example is mink oil. It’s not recommended for use on light-colored gloves because it can darken the leather.
Prepping the Glove
Before you even start the process of oiling your baseball glove, make sure you gather all the supplies. This includes a clean dish towel, your baseball glove oil, and a cool, dry place to store the glove once you’re done.
Use a clean dish towel to wipe down the glove and remove any dirt or debris. Make sure to get into all the crevices and pockets of the glove.
Applying the Oil
When it comes to applying oil to a baseball glove, here are some things to keep in mind to get the best results.
It’s important to use the right amount of oil when treating your glove. Using too much can cause the leather to become soft and lose its shape. A little goes a long way, so start with a small amount and add more if it’s necessary.
Start by putting a small amount into the pocket of your glove. Use a soft, clean cloth to spread it evenly throughout. Cover all areas of the glove, including the webbing and laces.
Once that’s done, let the glove sit for a few hours to let the leather absorb the oil. If there is any excess oil, wipe it away with a clean cloth.
Working the Oil In
As mentioned above, it’s important to start by putting a small amount of oil into the pocket. Rub it in gently to get a light coating. Make sure there are no globs of oil left.
Smear a light coat of oil all around the glove, especially in the areas between your thumb and forefinger. Next, fold the glove in half and apply pressure to the pocket area. This will help the oil penetrate the leather. Repeat this several times until the glove is fully coated.
Once the glove is clean and oiled, it’s important to let it dry completely. Any remaining moisture can lead to mold and mildew, which is not only gross but also not good for the leather.
Wipe it down with a clean sponge or cloth to remove any excess oil. Then, let it sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight or using a heater to speed this up. If the glove is still damp after 12 hours, wipe it down again with a clean cloth and let it dry for another 12 hours. Keep doing this until the glove is completely dry.
Drying your glove too quickly can cause the leather to crack, so be patient and let it happen naturally. Once the glove is dry, you’re ready to hit the field again.
To keep your baseball glove in good condition, regular maintenance is key. After every use, wipe down the glove with a dry cloth to remove any dirt or debris.
If the glove gets wet, let it air dry naturally. Do not use a heat source to dry it — that can damage the leather. Apply a small amount of oil to your glove once a month to keep the leather in good shape. As we discussed above, use a clean cloth to rub the oil into the leather, making sure to cover all areas of the glove.
Store your glove in a cool, dry place. Don’t leave it in direct sunlight or in a damp area. If you’re not planning to use your glove for an extended period of time, wrap it in a cloth or put it in a plastic bag so it stays clean and protected.
Paying attention to the upkeep of your glove will extend its life and keep it in great condition. That’s good since it’ll prevent you from having to think about finding a new one before you’re ready.
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